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Co-creating masterpieces with AI

How a legacy brand empowered creatives with AI.

Happy Thursday, Collaborators!

The future of our jobs as marketers, designers, writers, artists, or creatives has never looked less certain. 

Even as we embrace AI, I hear whispers at networking events: will AI replace us? 

As other companies look to replace creatives with AI, one company aims to empower them. We’re digging into their efforts this week. 

We hope they give you a spark of creative inspiration. 


The nerdy futurisms in this email were entirely written by humans.

The award-winning ad campaign “Masterpiece” is one of Coca-Cola’s first generative AI-assisted campaigns. Take a moment to watch it. It is stunning!

The Brand: 1.9 Billion Drinks

The company that is promoting human-machine collaboration isn’t a hot new AI startup. 

Or even a tech company.

It is Coca-Cola. 

The iconic, 131-year-old beverage company needs little introduction. Over 1.9 billion servings of the company’s drinks are consumed per day in 200 countries.  

Coca-Cola is one of the most powerful brands on earth. However, staying at the top is harder than getting there. 

The Challenges: Longevity

The past few years have been particularly difficult for Coca-Cola. 

Soda consumption has fallen steadily for the past two decades as customers opt for healthier beverages. 

COVID compounded the impact on Coca-Cola’s business by dealing a massive blow to fountain drink and convenience store sales. As a result, the company experienced its largest annual decline in sales volume since the 1940s

Finally, one of the company’s top marketing channels - TV - is experiencing its own decline. The younger generations Coca-Cola needs to court to secure the brand’s future don’t watch TV. 

Coca-Cola responded by shifting its focus to digital marketing channels. The company’s digital spend has increased from 30% to 60% of total media spend in the past four years. 

The longevity of the brand is at stake. How can Coca-Cola turn around its sales slump and convert younger generations? 

The Solution: Collaborating with Creatives

In 2021, Coca-Cola launched the “Real Magic” campaign, the company’s first global campaign in five years. “Real Magic” aims to show Gen Z consumers that “magic lives in unexpected moments of connection that elevate the everyday into the extraordinary.” 

When generative AI went viral, Coca-Cola saw an opportunity. The company began incorporating AI into the Real Magic campaign.

The “Masterpiece” ad at the start of this article was one of Coca-Cola’s first uses of generative AI. They would quickly launch a more ambitious project: “Create Real Magic.”

Create Real Magic

The ”Create Real Magic” campaign gave creatives the opportunity to create new, AI-enabled art using assets from the Coca-Cola archives. The company built its own AI platform to support the campaign, with help from OpenAI and Bain and Company. The assets included Coca-Cola advertising icons, like the Coca-Cola Santas and polar bears.

After creating their works of art, the artists could submit them to Coke’s contest. The winners will be featured on Coca-Cola billboards in high-traffic areas, like New York City’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus.

The contest ended March 31, and the winners will be announced soon.

Coca-Cola also selected 30 creatives among the submissions to attend Real Magic Creative Academy, an event at the company’s headquarters that connected artists, consumers, and technologists to talk about AI. The artists created content together that Coca-Cola will be used for digital collectables and licensed merch.

The Results

The Real Magic campaign - and particularly the Create Real Magic contest - are still ongoing. However, we can see some preliminary results.

Multiple versions of the “Masterpiece” ad have racked up millions of views on YouTube alone.

As we were writing this email, Coca-Cola’s Q3 earnings call transcript was released. In a time when other companies are slashing earnings estimates, Coca-Cola outperformed their third quarter predictions and raised their full-year earnings. Their CEO said that AI was an instrumental part of their performance—and their future strategy.

However, the Real Magic campaign is not the only AI campaign contributing to Coca-Cola’s success. We will be looking at an even bigger contributor next week.

Want a sneak peek? Reply to this email and let us know.